Chapter in this post:
At first I found the switch from iPhoto to the Photos app on the Mac to be relatively bumpy. Many sorting options and my old structure of the photo albums have been lost, but meanwhile Apple has improved over the years and meanwhile "Photos" is the photo management of my choice. I especially appreciate the iCloud sync every day when I take photos on the iPhone and then edit them directly on the Mac.
My photo library is on an external hard drive so that I can protect the internal SSD of my MacBook Pro a little. But sometimes it happens that the hard drive is disconnected from the hub while the Photos app is open on the Mac. In this case - and of course if the media library is actually damaged - you will get the following error message:
Photos needs to close because the photo library is no longer available or data has been corrupted.
The first few times I always got a real shock and thought that all of my photos had become illegible. In fact, there is usually no serious problem with the database of photos, you can either select the photo library again or you actually have to repair it.
Repairing the photos library is relatively easy, but depending on the size of the library, you should bring some time with you. While the Mac is doing the repair, you can't do anything in the Photos app, you have to wait until the thing is done.
The actual repair is started with a keyboard shortcut:
I just started it for a test to see how long the action lasts. I have a library with about 220 GB. The first progress bar was still running fairly quickly for me. The message "Repair media library ..." appeared and this process was finished after about 15 to 20 minutes.
After that, however, the next progress bar begins with the message "Restore ..." and it only reached 30% for me even after 20 minutes of running time. So you can imagine that it is smart to let this action run overnight if you have the choice.
This question can be clearly answered in the negative, because the Mac does not change the image files, only the database that stores all the information about the photos. The photos will remain in their previously saved form.
If you are afraid of damaging something, you can (and this is always a good idea!) Create a Time Machine backup so that all photos and the database are automatically backed up.
Alternatively, you can drag and drop the photo library file into another folder while holding down the ALT key, so that you have a backup of the latest status. The media library can usually be found in the user folder and there in "Pictures".
For me it is called "Photos Library.photoslibrary" and ends with the file extension ".photoslibrary". If you want to take a look at the database, click the library with the right mouse button and then select "Show package contents". Now the folder structure of the library opens, whereby you can find all the original photos under the folder “originals”. Unfortunately, everything is named and sorted somewhat encrypted, so that you can't really do much with it.
I hope you can get back to your photos and repair the media library. If you have any further tips, I look forward to your comments.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.